Jul 29, 2014

Environmentalists or 'Eco-Terrorists'?

Author Will Potter signs his book "Green Is the New Red," which discusses the U.S. government's tactics toward activist groups, at Diesel on Thursday.

Environmentalists or 'Eco-Terrorists'? Environmentalists or 'Eco-Terrorists'? Environmentalists or 'Eco-Terrorists'? Environmentalists or 'Eco-Terrorists'?

Lots of people are “going green” these days and trying to be more environmentally friendly. Journalist and eco-activist Will Potter adds a twist to the development by writing in a new book that the FBI is using anti-terrorism tactics to target environmentalists and animal rights activists.

Like the Red Scare in the 1950s, this new “Green Scare” is all about fear and intimidation, according to Potter’s book, Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege. Potter was at Diesel, A Bookstore in Brentwood Country Mart on Thursday to discuss the book and autograph copies for fans.

Potter became interested in the government’s relationship with radical activists years ago while working as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune.

“I went out leafleting on a campaign against a controversial animal testing lab and we were arrested. That led to two FBI agents knocking on my door and asking me to become an informant and investigate other activist groups, or they would put me on a domestic terrorist list,” Potter said. “It became kind of an obsession for me, and I started investigating how groups who have never harmed anyone can be treated as terrorists.”

The book outlines the political, legal and public relations strategies that threaten even acts of nonviolent civil disobedience with the label of “eco-terrorism.”

“To me it’s a First Amendment issue, because this terrorism rhetoric is making people afraid of speaking up for their beliefs and that’s really something that should concern every American regardless of what your politics are,” Potter said.

Diesel bookseller Geo Ong read Potter’s book and found it both informative and inspiring.

“It kind of does away with any romantic idealized feelings of radical environmentalism and provides a more realistic approach to how we can make a difference in the world environmentally,” Ong said.

Anyone who cares about the environment will care about this book, Ong said.

“Outside of that, it’s a great history book too because it provides a pretty comprehensive overview of the history of radical environmentalism,” he said. “Also, to a lesser extent, conspiracy theorists will enjoy the book because there is a bit of that, which is always fun to read about and always interesting.”

Potter is the creator of www.GreenIsTheNewRed.com where he blogs regularly. Green Is the New Red is available at Diesel and other bookstores for $16.95.



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